By Shelley Kofler, KERA News
Dallas, TX – Governor Rick Perry is requesting the federal government send unmanned aircraft known as drones to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. The request comes in the midst of increased border violence and spring break trips to Mexico. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more.
On Friday, Governor Perry sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting the federal government base its next predator drone in Texas.
Perry noted three of the remotely piloted aircraft are conducting border surveillance in Arizona where Napolitano served as governor. Washington is expected to assign another border patrol plane this summer.
Perry said drug violence along the Texas-Mexico border is escalating. Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, has reported more than 4,700 murders in the past two years. Authorities believe members of a drug cartel operating there are responsible for two ambushes this past weekend that killed a U.S. couple and a Mexican man.
Perry said a drone would help law enforcement on the Texas side spot drug smuggling and human trafficking more quickly and keep violence from spilling over the border.
Since last fall Texas has stationed special teams of Texas Rangers along the border to boost security. The state has increased the number of troopers because of spring break which began this week, but the Texas Department of Public safety is urging students and families not to vacation in Mexico.